Adidas’ latest campaign shot in Saudi Arabia

Time: 17 February, 2020

Adidas Originals decided to shoot its latest “Change is a Team Sport” campaign in Saudi Arabia. (Supplied)

DUBAI: In celebration of the 50th anniversary of its iconic superstar sneakers, Adidas Originals decided to shoot its latest “Change is a Team Sport” campaign in Saudi Arabia.

Featuring four talented women hailing from the Kingdom, the campaign images were photographed against the striking backdrop of the AlUla heritage site.

It is the first time a major brand has shot a campaign at the UNESCO heritage site. (Supplied)

For the campaign, the athletic giant tapped designer Alaa Balkhy, rapper Aseel Saraj, fashion blogger Jory Al Maiman and skateboarder and actress Sarah Taibah to showcase the sportswear brand’s iconic sneakers.

It is the first time a major brand has shot a campaign at the UNESCO heritage site.

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Saudi basketball team celebrates first anniversary of sports diplomacy project

Time: 06 February, 2020

Riyadh United and the Diplomats team celebrate their one year anniversary. (AN Photo)
  • Riyadh United has been holding regular games with the capital’s diplomatic community in a bid to promote the message of peace and understanding
  • The project was launched by co-founder of Riyadh United and Shoura Council member, Lina Al-Maeena, together with the Belgium Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Dominique Mineur

RIYADH: A Saudi basketball team is celebrating a year of sporting diplomacy aimed at strengthening international relations.

Through a unique initiative, Riyadh United players have been holding regular games with the capital’s diplomatic community in a bid to promote the message of peace and understanding between nations through sport.

The project was launched last year in the city’s Diplomatic Quarter by co-founder of Riyadh United and Shoura Council member, Lina Al-Maeena, together with the Belgium Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Dominique Mineur.

“It is an amazing initiative of women united together on a court, communicating in one language and collaborating for a healthier and happier lifestyle, while also activating one of the Vision 2030 goals of social empowerment,” said Al-Maeena.

The Kingdom aims to increase the population’s sports participation from 13 percent to 40 percent by 2030.

Mineur, captain of the Diplomats basketball team said: “We had the idea to join forces (with Al-Maeena) and have a team of diplomats against a team of Saudi ladies. It was a great idea.

“Sport is one the best ways to build bridges between people and nations. After one year of training between Saudi women and female diplomats, we look forward to many more years of friendly matches.”

The teams meet every two weeks, but plans are in the pipeline to set up weekly games.

Dalia Fatani, owner of art, craft and design Studio Lucha, and one of the first members to join the Riyadh United team, said: “The teams were established to build bridges between countries through sport, and also to strengthen our stamina as women. It gets us out, it gets us moving and we feel young again.”

Prof. Selwa Al-Hazzaa, head of the ophthalmology department at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in Riyadh, was a guest of honor at the anniversary celebrations.

More women playing basketball, or other sports, would help to lower obesity levels and reduce the risk of developing or exacerbating diabetes, and it also highlighted the importance of exercise for a healthy lifestyle, said Al-Hazzaa. “You guys (the team members) are role models to these young girls.”

Fatani said that Al-Maeena and her husband, Obaid Madani, had first set up Jeddah United female basketball team 16 years ago to encourage more people to play her favorite sport.

“Riyadh United is the sister of Jeddah United and we started in 2011. We really did it because we played basketball in school, but we didn’t have the ability to find a place or a coach, or a team even.

“But eventually it worked out and since then we’ve played almost yearly. It is a magnificent feeling,” added Fatani. “It’s really about building more connections with people through sports.”

Foreign missions have praised the Riyadh initiative, and in a tweet the UK Embassy said: “To celebrate the first anniversary of the Diplomats and the Riyadh United women’s teams, we played basketball to strengthen relationships, develop sports skills and make new friends. Congratulations to all of you.”

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KSA plans to be world’s most progressive golf destination

Time: 05 February, 2020

Saudi Arabia hopes to become the leading nation for golf. (File/Shutterstock)
  • The Kingdom plans to become the most innovative market in the sport within the next 10 years
  • The Kingdom is aiming to have up to 27,000 registered golfers

JEDDAH: With the conclusion of the European Tour event and the inauguration of the Saudi Golf Summit at King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) on Tuesday, Saudi Arabia is taking one of the most significant development moves in golf’s recent history.

The Kingdom plans to become the most innovative market in the sport within the next 10 years, said Majed Al-Sorour, CEO of the Saudi Golf Federation and Golf Saudi.

“Golf isn’t just a game,” Al-Sorour told Arab News, “it is related to various sectors and it creates well-paid jobs that attract Saudis.”

He added that golf requires commitment, dedication, self-governance, etiquette and discipline and that due to these values, he wants golf “to become part of the fabric of modern Saudi Arabia.”

The Kingdom is aiming to have up to 27,000 registered golfers and to ensure that over one million Saudi nationals have actively tried golf.

Golf Saudi wants to inspire and provide opportunities to every player regardless of ability, status or gender.

To help develop national talents, the organization is working on establishing golfing camps for children with a minimum of one camp per week at each golf course, with each camp consisting of roughly 30 children.

In order to achieve its plan, Golf Saudi is working in collaboration with the public and private sector, “Partnership government ministries is fundamental for progress, we are working with the ministries of transportation, education, environment and communication,” Al-Sorour said.

Majed Al-Sorour, CEO of the Saudi Golf Federation and Golf Saudi said the Kingdom plans to become the most innovative market in the sport within the next 10 years. (AN Photo/Huda Bashata)

He continued: “We are working with giga projects and independent developers, so the nation’s golf portfolio will be stronger than ever.”

Golf Saudi has developed a tourism framework to align this strategy with tourism stakeholders in the country. Golf course development plans are reaching their latter stages at the Diplomatic Quarter in Riyadh and the Red Sea Project.

Moreover, other giga and mega projects in the Kingdom will also include golf facilities at Diriyah Gate and Neom.

Al-Sorour said that the national golf team is gradually improving, and he anticipated that it will be able to compete on a global level within five years: “Golfers need time for training to develop properly.”

Golf Saudi is collaborating with the Ministry of Education to include golf in the basic and higher education system.

“We cannot spread the game’s culture without cooperating with the education ministry,” said Al-Sorour.

“We are having constant meetings and trying to create a partnership to integrate golf in the school curriculum.

The European Tour event took concluded this year at KAEC’s award-winning Royal Greens Golf and Country Club. It has won a number of international awards recognizing the golf, clubhouse and luxurious facilities.

Anas Najmi, head of the quality of life sector in KAEC, told Arab News that the top factor of spreading any game is having the infrastructure and the right facilities.

“Everyone knows about golf as a widely spread game on a global level, we have tried over the past period to ensure that we have enough world-class infrastructure with the highest standards so we can host activities, tournaments and championships,” Najmi said.

KAEC, with its award-winning facilities and first-of-its-kind golf academy in the region, has been attracting more locals interested in playing golf.

“We see a trend of lots of students wanting to know more about golf and willing to learn and practice, it is a game for many ages,” Najmi told Arab News, adding: “We have a huge interest in helping visitors and golf enthusiasts.”

Naomi continued: “We are strategically positioned in the heart of a population of 10 million, the recently inaugurated train station connects the city to Jeddah, Madinah and Makkah within an hour.

“We get lots of delegations from universities and schools, both public and international.”

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Princess Nourah University launches its 2020 sports gate

Time: 30 January, 2020 

The department offers diverse sporting activities such as basketball, football, volleyball, and others.
  • The sports gate aims to increase the number of sports practitioners at the university

RIYADH: The vice-rector of Princess Nourah Bint Abdul Rahman University (PNU) for Academic Support and Student Affairs, Dr. Amal Al-Habdan, launched the Nourah Sports Gate 2020 on Tuesday.

Organized by the sports affairs department, the official announcement was made in the presence of a number of college deans, heads of departments, administrative and educational staff at the university, female students and a number of external parties such as the Saudi Badminton Federation and the Saudi Arabian Judo Federation.

The sports gate aims to increase the number of sports practitioners at the university, by offering a number of fitness programs (PNU FIT) and sports.

The event involves a number of sports activities, including a 5 kilometer run for all university employees.

The department also offers diverse sporting activities such as basketball, football, volleyball, and others, in addition to athletics areas that include high and long jumping, shot putting, sprinting and group fitness exercises.

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Almulla and Salhab give thumbs-up for inaugural Saudi Ladies Championship

25/01/20
Saudi Arabia will hold its first-ever women’s professional golf tournament in March when the Saudi Ladies Championship tees off at Royal Greens Golf & Country Club. (Supplied)
  • Record prize money of $19.87 million for the LET 2020 season offered

JEDDAH: Saudi golfers Othman Almulla and Faisal Salhab have said they cannot wait for the Saudi Ladies Championship to happen in the Kingdom, after a UK newspaper confirmed the tournament was one of three new events added to the Ladies European Tour (LET) schedule.

The Daily Telegraph said the Ladies European Tour would offer record prize money of £15.2 million ($19.87 million) for the 2020 season, an increase of almost £4 million on last year. The cash injection comes in part due to having three new events, all offering prize money of at least $1 million, including the inaugural Saudi Ladies Championship to be held in March.
The exclusive report said there would be 24 events on the LET this year, an increase of four from last year. In addition to the Saudi tournament and the Scandinavian Mixed event, the third event to have a prize pot of over $1 million will be a new event to be held in the UK in August, ahead of the Ladies Scottish Open and the Women’s Open.
Almulla and Faisal will both tee off alongside the biggest names in golf in the Saudi International, which starts next Thursday at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club at the King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC).
Almulla, who turned professional during the inaugural staging of the Saudi International last year, is playing on a pro invite while the 23-year-old Riyadh-based Faisal qualified following his victory in the 5th Saudi Open at the Riyadh Golf Course in November last year.
Saud Alsharif, from the Eastern Province like Almulla, completes the Saudi trio in action in the Jan. 30 to Feb. 2 European Tour event. Alsharif earned his second straight stint in the tournament by virtue of his top ranking.
Almulla, a decorated amateur golfer and the youngest to qualify for the Dubai Desert Classic before another Saudi, Khaled Attieh, broke his record, told Arab News: “I think it’s a wonderful time for the sport of golf in Saudi Arabia, with the big developments the Saudi Golf Federation and Golf Saudi have put in place.”
“We already see the rewards of their ambitious plans with the first-ever female participation in an international event at the Pan Arab and GCC Championships in Egypt and Oman this year.
“And now with the first-ever ladies professional golf championship happening in Saudi Arabia, this will further motivate and inspire the next generation of golfers to continue improving,” Almulla added.
Salhab, who just ended a training camp with Alsharif and coach Jamie McConnell, director of instruction at the Claude Harmon Golf Academy in Dubai, said: “It’s great to have a Ladies European Tour event in Saudi Arabia. It emphasizes how the game is growing.
“It’s unreal to have such big events for men and women hosted in the Kingdom and hopefully inspire the next generation of golfers to pick up the sport.
“By having an event like this one take place in our backyard will hopefully expose many women to learn about the beautiful game,” Salhab added.
The Saudi Ladies Championship, professional golf’s newest high-profile tournament being hosted by the country, will take place March 19 to 22 at the Royal Greens Golf & Country Club under the aegis of the LET and the Saudi Golf Federation.
Golf Saudi announced last month that it was working with several LET stars to promote golf to local audiences, and to enhance the visibility of its Saudi golf development program and the country’s golf tourism. The UK’s Carly Booth, Amy Boulden and Rachel Drummond, and Swedish pair Camilla Lennarth and Isabella Deilert, will each wear the Golf Saudi logo as ambassadors of the program.

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Princess Reema bint Bandar and Prince Fahd bin Jalawi bin Abdul Aziz bin Musaid attend International Olympic Committee meetings

Time: 15 January, 2020

 

Princess Reema bint Bandar and Prince Fahd bin Jalawi bin Abdul Aziz bin Musaid attended the meeting in Lausanne. (Photo Supplied/Greg Martin)
  • Princess Reema expressed her delight that Saudi Arabia had made considerable recent progress in its efforts to encourage all segments of society “to embrace sports as a way of life”

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s representatives to various commissions of International Olympic Committee (IOC) attended the IOC’s annual meetings in Lausanne, Switzerland this week. The meetings coincide with the Winter Youth Olympics, which are currently being held in Lausanne and end on Jan. 22.
Two board members of the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee — Princess Reema bint Bandar (Women in Sports Commission) and Prince Fahd bin Jalawi bin Abdul Aziz bin Musaid (Public Affairs and Social Development Through Sports Commission) — represented the Kingdom.
Saudi Arabia has three representatives in the IOC, with Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal on the Marketing Committee.
Among the topics discussed during the Women in Sports Committee’s meeting were gender equality in sports, the participation of women in community sports, and the prevention of harassment.

SPEEDREAD

• Among the topics discussed during the event were gender equality in sports, the participation of women in community sports, and the prevention of harassment.

• Saudi Arabia has made considerable recent progress in its efforts to encourage all segments of society to embrace sports as a way of life.

“We work closely with all members of the Olympic family through the IOC Women in Sports Committee to support the participation of women at all levels of sports,” Princess Reema said after the meeting. “We discussed all the advances that have been achieved in this area, as well as some of the key challenges that are facing women currently.”
She also expressed her delight that Saudi Arabia had made considerable recent progress in its efforts to encourage all segments of society “to embrace sports as a way of life.”
Prince Jalawi said that, given Saudi Arabia’s preeminence in the region, the Kingdom has made its presence felt in the Olympic family. “At the Public Affairs and Social Development through Sport Committee, we work to harness the power of sports to serve all communities and help to build cultural bridges between them. Sport is a very powerful tool to realize these goals,” he said.

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The ‘Clash on the Dunes’ boxing match will be at iconic venue

Time: November 25, 2019

On the night more than 2,000 staff will ensure proceedings run smoothly in the arena, 95 percent of which is reusable, and which will take a month to take down. (Supplied)
  • Andy Ruiz II and Anthony Joshua will match at the Diriyah Arena
  • Joshua will be looking to regain some of his belts after suffering defeat to Ruiz in New York earlier

RIYADH: A boxing match needs a spectacular venue and few can compare to the Diriyah Arena in Saudi Arabia which is now ready for the Clash on the Dunes as World Champion Andy Ruiz II takes on Anthony Joshua.

Earlier this week, Joshua has promised the world an ‘iconic evening of boxing’ as he flew into the Kingdom on Saturday night ahead of the bout on December 7.

The first-ever World Heavyweight title fight to take place in the Middle Easy will be staged in the custom-built 15,000 seat Diriyah Arena in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage site, known as the home of heroes and kings.

“The arena and site are utterly breath-taking, with a theme park and concert the night before as well. It’s like nothing we’ve seen before in boxing. The Clash on the Dunes will be a night to remember. We can’t wait,” Eddie Hearn, Managing Director of Matchroom Boxing, said.

The Diriyah Arena has been constructed by 175 staff working tirelessly to transform the 10,000 sq m site, which includes 295 tonnes of steel, which would stretch 57km. Work began on October 7, just two months out, with 3,000 sqm of scaffolding needed to complete the work.

On the night more than 2,000 staff will ensure proceedings run smoothly in the arena, 95 percent of which is reusable, and which will take a month to take down.

Joshua will be looking to regain his WBO, WBA, IBF and IBO belts after suffering defeat to Ruiz in New York earlier this year, but the British heavyweight will have the backing thousands of UK fans join boxing enthusiasts from more than 60 countries.

Ahead of landing in Saudi Arabia on Saturday night to set up his pre-fight training camp, Anthony Joshua said: “It’ll definitely be a night people will tell their grandchildren they were at, one of those iconic evenings of boxing. Everyone from Saudi has been brilliant to work with.”

Fans will approach the Diriyah Arena via the Diriyah Oasis, a huge sprawling entertainment hub which includes ice-skating outdoors, sky diving, jetski-ing and ziplining among a host of activities on offer. The Diriyah Oasis is split into the four zones – Nature, Imagination, Reflection, Excitement- giving families a place to come together, and at its heart lies an astonishing grand installation by world-renowned Italian artist, Edoardo Tresoldi.

The Clash On The Dunes forms part of the Diriyah Season, epic month of sports which kicked off with Formula E at the weekend, the Diriyah Tennis Cup featuring eight of the best men’s players on the planet, and the Diriyah Equestrian Festival, an elite competition with Tokyo Olympics 2020 qualifying points on the line.

The Diriyah Season is also supported by the Diriyah Music Festival with huge concerts taking place around the event. On December 6, the night before the Clash On The Dunes, major artists who are yet to be announced will perform. So far artists such as Imagine Dragons, DJ Alan Walker, Clean Bandit and Maluma have performed to 40,000 concert goers.

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Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince organizes flights to carry Al-Hilal fans to Japan for Champions League final

Time: November 14, 2019

Al-Hilal secured a 1-0 win over the Japanese club in the first leg on Saturday in Riyadh. (Supplied)
  • Al-Hilal secured a 1-0 win over the Japanese club in the first leg on Saturday in Riyadh
  • The crown prince’s decision comes as a result of his support for Saudi Arabian football in the AFC championship

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has ordered four planes to transport Al-Hilal fans to Japan to support the club in their AFC Champions League final second leg match against the Urawa Red Diamonds.

Al-Hilal secured a 1-0 win over the Japanese club in the first leg on Saturday in Riyadh. The return leg is in Saitama, near Tokyo on Nov. 24.

The Saudi Press Agency said the crown prince’s decision comes as a result of his support for Saudi Arabian football in the AFC championship and to boost the morale of the team to seal the title.

The Saudi General Sport Authority have begun to coordinate with Al-Hilal’s administration to arrange for transporting fans to Japan.

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Wrestling fans witness first women’s WWE match in Saudi Arabia

Time: November 01, 2019 
WWE wrestler Natalya is participating in the WWE wrestling show in the Kingdom for the second time. ( AN Ziyad Alarfaj )
  • For WWE wrestler Natalya, Saudi Arabia is very clean, “the people are friendly and the food is amazing. I’ve had some of the best hummus of my life in Saudi Arabia.”

RIYADH: World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Crown Jewel fans were ignited for a monumental evening.

The loaded card for Riyadh Season was not the only treat in store for attendees. It also marked the first women’s WWE match in Saudi Arabia, setting a precedent for fans in King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh as they cheered raucously for Natalya and Lacey Evans.

“This is my second time in Saudi Arabia and I’m so excited,” Natalya told Arab News before the match, which she won. Her first trip was to Jeddah a few months ago. “We’ve been really busy since we landed. We went to a children’s hospital, lots of media interviews and working out.”

She said she had a great time during her first trip, and it was a nice introduction to the Kingdom.

Photo Gallery of the show 

“I was just as excited then as I am now. I’d never been to Saudi Arabia before so I didn’t know what to expect … but now I feel so excited and ready to be here,” she added.

“One thing that stood out to me on both trips is the people. They’ve been so polite and respectful and nice to all of us. You feel so welcome,” Natalya said.

“Saudi Arabia is very clean, the people are friendly and the food is amazing. I’ve had some of the best hummus of my life in Saudi Arabia,” she added.

“To be here in Riyadh, this trip is more special because I’ll be part of the first ever women’s match in Saudi Arabia. I think that’s why it feels so different, so much more special than before,” she said.

“I feel like we’re opening new doors. We’re creating an even closer bond with Saudi Arabia. When you look back on WWE’s relationship with Saudi Arabia, we’ve been coming here for years. We’ve been coming to the Middle East since the 1990s,” she added. “I’m excited and grateful that the WWE universe and our fans in Saudi Arabia get to be part of this journey with us, and that our fans around the world get to experience this life-changing event. It’s very special,” Natalya said.

“This first ever women’s match … is bigger than me, bigger than Lacey, bigger than WWE … Sharing this journey with everybody makes it more special, knowing that WWE is in over 180 countries around the world, knowing that so many people will be with us,” she added.

“I couldn’t be more grateful, and I know it’s something I’ll never forget … I want to thank you all for welcoming us with open arms.”

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WWE Riyadh Crown Jewel to feature first women’s match in Saudi Arabia

Time: October 30, 2019  

The match will be part of the Jewel Crown event at Riyadh Season. (Screen grab)

  • The match between Natalya and Lacey Evans will be the first ever women’s wrestling match in Saudi Arabia
  • Braun Strowman, Tyson Fury, Cain Velasquez, and Brock Lesnar will also compete at the Crown Jewel

RIYADH: WWE announced on Wednesday, the first ever women’s match in Saudi Arabia will take place on Thursday, during the Crown Jewel press conference.
The conference was held at King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh, and the event is part of Riyadh Season, which includes over 100 events happening in two months.
WWE Superstars Natalya and Lacey Evans will be the starts of the women’s match.
Crown Jewel, one of WWE’s premier pay-per-view events, will also feature Roman Reigns and matches between other boxing champions.
WWE Champion Brock Lesnar and Cain Velasquez will battle for the WWE title, while Braun Strowman and Tyson Fury will have a match too.
Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt will compete for the Universal Championship.
Mansoor, a Saudi wrestler who won in the WWE’s largest Battle Royale in history, also spoke during the press conference.
“I will make you proud and will not disappoint you,” he said to the Saudi crowds.
International boxing champions Fury and Strowman commented on their match, as well as Velasquez and Lesnar.
Boxing icons Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Roman Reigns and Randy Orton were also at the junket.

Watch the live press conference here:

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